In his book Outliers, author Malcomb Gladwell discusses an idea that’s become increasingly popular in recent years: the theory that it takes 10,000 hours to completely master a skill to the highest level.
- Do you think it actually takes 10,000 hours to master a skill? Why or why not? (Accept all reasonable answers. Students may mention that it depends on the skill. For example, cleaning is easier to master than playing a difficult song on an instrument.)
Gladwell’s rule doesn’t apply to mastering every skill. For example, you can learn to drive a car proficiently in far less time. Instead, it applies to having “world-class expertise” in a particular skill. This could be something like mastering the cello to the level of playing in an elite orchestra or mastering swimming to the level of being able to compete worldwide.
Although it doesn’t take 10,000 hours to master just anything, developing new skills still requires time. Let’s take a look.
Play the following video [0:51]:
Forget 10,000 hours, focus on the first 20
Mastering a skill or hobby requires time, discipline, and dedication. It doesn’t happen overnight! Instead, it takes time and determination.
- Do you have hobbies, activities, or interests that require a lot of time? What is that process like? (Accept all reasonable answers. Be prepared to share your own experience.)
- Who has an example of persevering slowly and steadily to achieve a goal? (Accept all reasonable answers. Outside of training for something, students may have examples of persevering through a tough read or a challenging class, working steadily on a fractured relationship or painful experience.)
- In a fast-paced world where we expect things quickly, where do you find examples of dedication and discipline? (Answers will vary; accept all reasonable answers. Examples may be found in mentors of all kinds. Parents who work hard, love their kids no matter what, and find time for worship and service. Someone who worked hard for years to become great in their field, especially those who achieved success late.)
The Christian life is wonderful, but it doesn’t mean everything is suddenly easy and perfect. It doesn’t mean we suddenly have all the answers or make all the right choices. The
Christian life is about growing closer in relationship to God day after day. That takes time and intentionality. As Christians, we don’t stop growing after we commit our lives to Jesus—we grow even more! Every day is a new opportunity to grow closer to God.